Just about everyday another person is complaining that Facebook is only sharing their posts with a handful of their fans. They tried links, they tried pictures, videos even just posting text and throw their hands up in the area frustrated by the lack of people seeing their posts. I recently stumbled on this infographic that cleverly explains how Facebook's newsfeed algorithm is broken down. Great information worth checking out if you plan on trying to use Facebook successfully.
Facebook has gone through a number of changes over the last year and many people were frustrated by the sudden lack of people getting exposure to their page posts. I noticed a fall off from about 50% of my fans viewing my posts to 20% or less. However, I have been able to bring that number back up again and am currently getting about 60% of my fans viewing my posts on average with no additional promotion needed. That said, I do promote posts occasionally - and I would be happy to talk about that in a future article - but even without promotion I am reaching many more fans than before. The following screen grab is from my stats today. The top post with a total reach of 4,456 is from a post just 2 hours ago. So over the next few hours that number will continue to grow.
What's the secret? Well first and foremost like any kind of marketing it requires consistent action. You cannot leave your Facebook page alone for a couple weeks (or even a week) and then post something expecting to get tons of exposure. What I have discovered is that Facebook rewards those who use their page often. However, don't be one of those that posts 6 different photos in one hour. It is annoying and will result in negative action from your fans (hiding your posts or disliking your page altogether.) A good practice is to post once or twice a day. If you post twice a day do it once in the morning and once in the evening.
"More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging - in short, more word of mouth." - Gary Vaynerchuck
Alright now let's get more specific. The following infographic contains great information from Will Cathcart, Facebook's Product Manager. Read this over and study it. It will definitely give you more clarity as to just how Facebook decides who sees your posts and how often. Yes, I realize it is quite silly using Batman and friends as the examples but the information is extremely useful.
In short, the biggest factor is to get people to engage with the content. The more they engage the better chance they will have of seeing your posts in the future. Here are some tips on getting better engagement on your posts.
1. Share your very best photo from the shoot. Leave a short caption why that photo is special. It might not always be your technically best photo but rather pick one that you know will tug at the heart strings of those viewing your page. For example snapshots of my own kids at home, while it has nothing to do with my business, always gain a lot of great engagement from fans.
2. Keep it fresh. Post daily - or even twice a day.
3. Get fans talking. Engage back with them when they comment on your posts.
4. Show your appreciation by "Liking" ever comment. I do this as a way of letting those who have engaged that I saw their comment and appreciate it.
5. Pick content based on the principle, WIITFT "What's In It For Them." Far too often I see photographers posting on their pages to brag about the latest image they created or their latest achievement. There is a time and place for those posts, but please don't do that every time. It is better instead to choose your posts wisely and share things that are not just about you. Share about friends, family, your kids, your pets. Share great quotes or even a funny joke you might have heard. The idea is use your page to create content that people enjoy reading and seeing which is not just about you.
6. Lastly and possibly most important, stop participating in those Facebook ladders. The ones in which photographers ask one another to like each other's pages. The problem with these Facebook ladders is that you just got yourself another couple hundred likes to your page but they are "empty likes." In fact it is more filler than anything and it will sadly hurt your numbers in the future. See the issue is that Facebook will now include those "empty likes" in the percentage of people who see your posts. Meaning that instead of people in your community (potential clients) seeing your post, the photographer on the other side of the country that liked your page because you liked his is now seeing your content and doing nothing with it. Having a lot of people liking your page is nice, it's an ego boost, it looks good... but make sure that those fans are actually the people that you really want to see your posts. Your business will be better for it.
In conclusion, don't give up on Facebook. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas A. Edison. It is a powerful tool to reach people and has played a vital role in helping me grow my business over the last few years. If it is not already doing it for you I am sure in a matter of time it will be. You just never know what door will open next and Facebook has been a critical tool for me in opening lots of doors all around the world.
"There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there." - Darren Rowse